Brian McGowan, Brendan McCormack

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This study evaluated the implementation of supernumerary status in intensive care units in the Greater Belfast area. This was achieved by posing three questions:1. How was supernumerary status defined by stakeholders?2. How was it implemented in the intensive care units involved?3. What effect had it in practice? The study was qualitative in nature and used semi-structured interviews and focus group interviews to collect data. Data was subsequently analysed to identify themes and from this a narrative was constructed. Participants were purposively selected by virtue of their experience of supernumerary status. In response to the three questions ten themes emerged from the data:Definition:i. Additional to the usual complement of staffii. Being assigned to a more experienced member of staff who supervised the new nurses progress.Implementation/operationalisation:iii. A planned and structured programme was offerediv. Variable criteria in how the supernumerary nurses were assessedv. Length of time spent as a supernumerary nursevi. Being supernumerary allowed flexibility in placementEffect:vii. Supernumerary status had attracted staff to work in intensive careviii. Supernumerary status as an identified source of stress (through increased workload and responsibility) in intensive care nursingix. Developing confidence and competence in role and consequently providing quality assurancex. Supernumerary status has been worth the investment of time and moneyOverall, exploring the operationalisation of a supernumerary status programme helps us to explore the challenges of supporting neophyte nurses in all areas of practice and challenges service providers to consider creative approaches to providing such support. However, whilst making a positive contribution to the recruitment and development of nurses new to the intensive care environment, further study is required to gauge the long-term effect of this programme on retention of staff.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 9 Sept 2003
EventBritish Association of Critical care Nurses: Evidence, Evaluation and Effectiveness - Glasgow
Duration: 9 Sept 2003 → …


ConferenceBritish Association of Critical care Nurses: Evidence, Evaluation and Effectiveness
Period9/09/03 → …


  • Supernumerary status


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